Friday, October 2, 2009

Tea & Toast

Mom and Dad were both teachers and even though everyone thinks teachers are home by the time school ends, they're not. I mean my folks were definitely home before the average office employee, but there was a gap between my dismissal and their arrival. That's where Grandma stepped in.

After school, the bus would drop us off at her house and we'd watch Land of The Lost or whatever was on WPIX and best of all, Grandma would serve us Lipton tea and white toasted Arnold bread. For years this routine lived on. Ironically, although we loved our tea and toast time, if you think about it, that's really just bread and water. A meal fit for prisoners as we were taught to believe growing up. No offense to Grandma, I just couldn't resist the comparison.

Grandma would busily prepare dinner for Grandpa -- usually some Italian-smelling soups or something with Lima beans and other vegetables. Some afternoons she'd let me help her cook by breaking the ends off the string beans or peel the potatoes she was readying to boil.

Although content, we anxiously waited to hear Mom's car pulling into Grandma & Grandmpa's narrow driveway which meant it was only minutes before we could change out of our school uniforms and into play clothes. My brother and I would sip our Lipton tea while arguing over which cartoons to watch. The tea was never Tetley or Salada, it was always Lipton. It's funny how you remember things like that. The white bread was always Arnold's "Brick Oven" is what I think it's called today.

Man how I loved that Lipton tea and Arnold bread back then. If Grandma had busted out Wonder Bread for toast, I'm sure I would have given her a hard time. Advertising agencies understand the importance of branding and the psychology behind it. As consumers, we often cling to particular products we were raised on. Who would you trust more than your mom or grandma? Not to mention, if Mom always bought Dial, you might remember the classic golden scent that hasn't changed in years. There's something comforting about that. Growing up, my mom always gave us Lipton instant noodle soup from the box. Yes, we know it's all salt today, but it was acceptable back in the '70s. I'm not sure how many of us stick with those ideals of the old brands, I'm sure most would agree they buy what's on sale or what they have a coupon for.

With scents it bums me out how companies alter and upgrade the scents over the years to better market their products and obviously to keep up with the times and competitors. For example, I would love to find a bottle of Suave that smelled the way it did when I was 12. You know, long before there was a choice of like 30 different types and scents. Back in the old days, there may have been like three choices: oily hair, dry hair, normal hair. Heck I could be wrong, there may have only been one! I didn't bother to do any research... Fab detergent and Finesse shampoo smells much different today than they did when I was a kid. I know all of these products are filled with harmful chemicals and all of that environmental stuff, so don't get your panties in a bunch. I'm just reminiscing which is the point of this blog...

Anyway, to this day I love a nice cup of tea with milk and a hint of sugar (not the fake stuff!) paired with some lightly toasted bread which today has sadly been replaced with high fiber brown bread. I don't even remember what white bread tastes like.

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